Best of the Web: How Smartphones can Help Learning, the Mysteries of Kids’ Behaviour, the Myth of Teen Anxiety, and Calls to Ban Smacking

Learning using a smartphone, kids' behaviour explained, and the Big Myth about teen anxiety.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Are smartphones the key to improving school results?

(Joanne Orlando, Fairfax)

The debate over whether to ban smartphones from the classroom continues. France has done it, NSW is conducting a review, and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has said he’d back any school or teacher banning mobile phones in the classroom where they are causing a distraction. This article argues that it’s all about making learning relevant. And some days, that might mean using a smartphone for activities such as creating and recording music, developing e-books or creating apps.

How to solve the three mysteries of kids’ behaviour

(Mary Lloyd, ABC)

This report begins with a real-life photo of a child in school uniform playing the ukulele, while his sister, in her pyjamas, stands on her head. The shot is taken 10 minutes before they need to leave for school, and wonderfully illustrates the disconnect between what parents want and what kids do. Talking to three psychologists, the article delves into why kids behave the way they do – and offers some strategies for parents.

The Big Myth About Teenage Anxiety

(Richard A. Friedman, The New York Times)

It’s become accepted that the digital age is having a profound impact on the brains of our teenagers – they’ve become anxious, worried and unable to focus. ‘Don’t panic; things are really not this dire,’ writes the author, a psychiatrist.  In a counter argument to the conventional wisdom on the issue, he argues there is little evidence of an epidemic of anxiety disorders in teenagers. Part of the problem is a cultural shift toward pathologising everyday levels of distress.

Fresh call for smacking to be outlawed in the home

(BBC News)

This UK report details a new call by the Association of Educational Psychologists for smacking of children in the home. ‘Smacking is harmful to a child’s mental health, it models aggressive behaviour and it says to them that it is OK to use violence,’ a representative of the group recently told a conference. The reports says psychologists cite research suggesting when parents use force, there’s a change in brain activity, which that means the degree of force used on the child can escalate.

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